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Archive for April, 2010

Two Sides to Every Issue

April 28, 2010 Leave a comment

Well, people are listening. In the past few weeks, the writers here on Viewfinder Redux have talked about the problems with top-down leadership and the need to hear alternative viewpoints. We have made well-considered voting recommendations that have even included members of the Poster slate.

At the same time, members’ email inboxes have been stuffed time and again with diatribes from “elect steven poster” addressing and then dismissing our arguments. While we may not be convinced by their logic, we are certainly glad to be engaged in a stimulating, if contentious, dialogue.

What we are not pleased about are the (pardon my Latin) ad hominem attacks against some of our writers and candidates. Why attack the messenger? On sets across the regions we’ve heard our members express fear for their families in a future with a 400 hour health care qualifying requirement. We’ve heard members question the wisdom of discarding corporate law protections. We’ve heard members complain that, in this economy, it is difficult to come up with $200 for training seminars. We don’t just pull these ideas out of thin air.

Those of us who sit on the board as well as those of us who simply care about the direction of our organization have a duty to give voice to these members’ questions.    Read more…

Categories: Election 2010

Doug Hart’s Local 600 Independent Audit Report

April 24, 2010 2 comments

Have you ever wondered where the dues and assessment money you pay into Local 600 actually goes?

Well, as a Member of the National Executive Board (NEB), I get this question from Members quite often, and it is always difficult to find an acceptable or even believable answer.

This is what prompted me recently to demand my legal right, as an elected “Director” (NEB Member) of Local 600, to examine the financial bills, receipts and records of this organization.

This was only possible because Local 600 is a “Non-Profit Mutual Benefit Corporation” under California State Law.  President Poster and National Executive Director Bruce Doering are now trying to eliminate that corporate status with their infamous “green ballot measure,” which will forever make it impossible for elected NEB Members to gain access to the financial records of this organization.

I am the ONLY “Director” to have successfully done this so far. I used my legal right to inspect the books during the Dibie administration.  What I am presenting today to the members of Local 600 is my Independent Audit Report conducted in December 2009.

This post is just a summary of my full 14 page Independent Audit Report. If you would like to see the full report email me at DCHart@aol.com and I will email you a copy of the complete Audit Report, after I verify that you are indeed a member of ICG Local 600, either by seeing your entry in the most recent Members Directory, or for new members not yet listed in the Directory, by confirming with ICG 600 staff.

A Labor Union should never have such “secrets” from its members, especially about financial matters, when it involves how the elected and hired  “leadership” of that Labor Union spend the dues and assessment monies collected from members, and spend it they do, as fast and as extravagantly as possible, with absolutely no regard or consideration for the members paying that hard-earned money for legitimate union expenses, and making no attempts at trying to limit expenses to absolute the minimum required to service and benefit our membership.

The annual budget of Local 600 is approaching $12 MILLION per year (THAT’S A MILLION DOLLARS A MONTH) for our 4 offices nationwide, staff salaries & perks, computer system (the new computer system is now about HALF A MILLION DOLLARS OVER BUDGET, and over a year late), costs of meetings, air travel, the ICG Magazine (which usually LOSES us between $400K and $500K a year), mailings, training and organizing expenses, etc. Who is minding the store?   Read more…

Replies to Excerpts from Steven Poster’s Website

April 20, 2010 Leave a comment

These quotes (in red) are the three main “Bullet Points” from Steven Poster’s Blog homepage, bragging of his accomplishments since stealing the office of Local 600 Presidency in 2006.

The responses (in black) are mine.

Douglas C. Hart,

First Camera Assistant, Eastern Region

– In the past year we have held 27 hands-on training events across the Country – No other IA Local does that!

No other Local has had the technological changes in their craft, to NEED such training.

And every one of these Local 600 Training events has been used as much as a political campaign opportunity by the Poster administration, as it has been used to train our members.

First of all, President Poster makes these Training events seem like his original idea alone, when in fact, two past administrations also held Training events.    Read more…

Here Are The Questions—Where Are the Answers?

April 20, 2010 Leave a comment

Before you mail your ballot ask your Local 600 Officers, Executive Staffers, Business Representatives, and current NEB members these questions:

“What is being done at the height of this Nationwide and Industry-wide recession to cut costs at Local 600? What are their budget comparisons year to year since 2006?”

“What are the travel expenses including first class airfares, luxury lodgings and meals and alcohol for Local 600 staff to fly across the country to conduct workshops when Regional or Local members can conduct that same useful training for the members?”

“Why is it that the Officers and a majority of your NEB recently voted against reducing quarterly dues assessments for those of you earning less than $10,000 annually?”

“Why did the Officers, Staff and a majority of the NEB recently vote down mailing dissenting points of view regarding the Dissolution of your Local as a California Corporation (protecting your assets) when the ballots are sent recommending it? Why do they fear alternative viewpoints at the ballot box?” Democracy this is not.

“When was the last time you read a member’s point of view in Camera Angles that was not political back patting?”  Democracy this is not.    Read more…

Vote “NO” On The “Green” Ballot Referendum

April 20, 2010 1 comment

As a current candidate for the offices of Second National Vice President and National Executive Board Member (representing Western Region Camera Operators), I am sharing with you the following comments that I made “For the Record” (i.e., recorded and verbatim) at the October 2009 National Executive Board meeting.  It was at this meeting that 32 NEB members first moved to dissolve Local 600’s corporate status as a Non-Profit Mutual Benefit Corporation in the State of California.

 In the wake of the email received from Local 600 today, April 19, 2010 (purportedly authored jointly by staff Regional Directors Behm, Kantor and Hilsman), concerning the so-called “Green Ballot” referendum, please note that the official minutes of the October 2009 NEB meeting are online at cameraguild.com, and available for member review.  The following may give you some insight into the actual discussions that took place that day.

From the minutes:

Scott Kaye read for the record.

“I personally find this motion that I’m speaking against [is] bordering on the tragic and that this body is considering dissolving a corporation that was formed 56 years ago and under which we have operated to varying degrees of compliance over the years. As counselor’s letter of September 6, 2007 notes, we are generally in compliance. Clearly in the documentation provided and the tone and tenor of this morning, the drive is to dissolve the corporation as a solution to a problem that has another remedy. The problem is not that we have a corporate form; the problem is that we are not in compliance with California Corporate Law. Read more…

Should We “Continue the Progress”?

April 19, 2010 Leave a comment

• Hundreds of gainfully employed members, and their dependents, will lose health coverage in 2011 due to the 400 hour qualification requirement. Many new members may never be able to qualify. Meanwhile, residuals and hourly contributions from the 8 to 399 hours worked by these unqualified members will continue to fund the health plan for those who do qualify.

• We now have to make our own pay deals on Internet projects without any of the customary protections for staffing, job description, work hours, or working conditions.

• We face the possible loss of over a half century of successful protection under California’s corporation laws. {This may be stopped if enough members Vote No on the “Green Ballot” initiative.)

• A Top-Down “we know what’s best for you” style of governance has become the norm in Local 600. Dissenting opinions on corporate dissolution and other issues are routinely swept under the rug.     Read more…
Categories: Progress?

Second Class Members

April 18, 2010 Leave a comment

For all the underemployed dues-paying members of our Local, be you disabled, victim of work stoppages due to strikes by other guilds, runaway production drying up work in your region, industry slowdown due to the Republican Recession, or retired with 30+ years in the business, your elected union leadership has a message for you:

Screw you.

In the words of Local 600 representatives, you have no “stake in the Industry.” You have “no vested interest,” and only “actively working” members should hold elected union office.

They will, however, continue to accept your dues, thank you very much.

The leadership of IATSE and Local 600 advocated and helped pass an amendment to the IA Constitution such that no one with less than 120 days employment in a three-year period is eligible for elected office.

Current elected officials without the requisite work days will be allowed to continue their terms AND RUN AGAIN.     Read more…

Categories: Real Labor Union